In it’s 4th season now MIMMA has come a long way. As a tournament that was structured towards unearthing and building Malaysian MMA talent, it has undoubtly achieved this successfully. Fighters such as Keanu Subba, Agilan Thani & Mohd Aiman has transition successfully to fight as a pro in ONE Championship. MIMMA 1 champion ; Allen Solomon Chong and Adrian Tham is active in the regional MMA circuit in Asia, and many amateur fighters are training hard and eagerly waiting for their chance to make an impression in MIMMA 2017

At the beginning, in the the first & second seasons, most fighters are either good on stand up or ground. But as it progress to the 4th season now we see standard of fights has improved. And most fighters already cross train in different discipline to be a more complete fighter.
This Grand Finals on Saturday will have 12 bouts. 9 championship bouts and 3 feature fights.
FEATURE FIGHTS:
 
MIMMA Veteran VS New Blood 
Vinod Dave Greywal (Kuala Lumpur) VS Aaron Tan (Sarawak)

Malaysia VS Indonesia 
Hafizul Hakeem VS Riko Chen

Palestine VS USA
Amro Fy Sulaiman VS Cash Barnes


 
CHAMPIONSHIP BOUTS:
Women: 
Joanna Yap (Defending Champion) VS Hayatun Najihin

Heavy Weight:
Darren Low (Defending Champion) VS Tsan Nieng Khai

Flyweight: 
Seah Zhang Yu (Defending Champion) VS Eddey Kalai

Middleweight: 

Meeraj Omar (Defending Champion) VS Bryant Tan

Welterweight: 

Gino Tan (Defending Champion) VS Theebaan Govindasamy

Lightweight: 
Jace Law (Defending Champion) VS Hui Keng Fai

Bantamweight: 

Effendy Kalai VS Damon Soo

Featherweight: 

Cheah Wen Khyn VS Joseph Yap

Foreign Pride: 
Nazri Sutari VS Shaqueme Rock




 
Lets take a look at some of the interesting match-up for the Grand Finals.

MIMMA Veteran VS New Blood 
Vinod Dave Greywal (Kuala Lumpur) VS Aaron Tan (Sarawak)

MIMMA veteran, Vinod Dave Greywal, now training in Vietnam’s UFC Gym under ONE Championship veteran Arnaud LePont, is looking to show newcomer, Aaron Tan that experience shall triumph over anything else. Vinod conquered Keng Fai in season’s 3 semi-finals but he lost to eventual champion Jace Law in the contender fight.

Aaron Tan from GymBox Kuching is not someone to be underestimated. He maybe the newcomer and underdog. But he has created some upsets in his MIMMA 4 journey. Aaron got a win over Teh Kah Wei in the semi-finals and lost a close fight to Theeban in the contender fight. Expect a very technical bout between these two.

Malaysia VS Indonesia 
Hafizul Hakeem VS Riko Chen


 

Hafizul Last year’s featherweight grand finalist, Hafizul Hakeem of Team Karabaw, Sabah will be carrying the nation’s flag against Malaysia’s traditional competitor, Indonesia, represented by Riko Chen of K-One MMA Academy in Penang.

Hafizul bring a 5-3-0 record into this fight. Hafizul comes from Sipitang, a small town 2.5 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu. Last year he went all the way to the grand finals meeting Muhd Aiman but suffered a round 1 lost. This year he came back strong & reach the semi-finals where he met Joseph Yap. Controlling the fight in round 1 and early round 2, looks set to win but Joseph manage to capitalize on a small window of opportunity and executed a good arm lock to win it.
Hafizul has much improve on his game since last year. Noticing the potential in him, MIMMA offered him this feature fight. Thrill at this opportunity to represent the country, Hafizul decided to train at  AKA Phuket, to add more arsenal to his skills.
Riko is a BJJ specialist. He won over fellow Indonesian Alfred Leko in the feature fight of MIMMA 4 contender fight. Hailing from Medan Indonesia, Riko was one of the selected few who won the scholarship MMA program run by K-One MMA Academy. Training there as a full time fighter.
Back in Medan, Riko frequently got into many street fights. Joining a proper gym and fight legally in the cage is his way of managing his anger and at the same time giving him a direction in life.
On how he thinks the fight will go,
” He’s a nice guy, But when he step inside the cage with me, will be just another meal. Yeah..standing or ground no matter…
I have the KO power and I have the ground game as well.
So bring it on. No matter what it is, I’m more than ready”

Heavy Weight:
Darren Low (Defending Champion) VS Tsan Nieng Khai

Borneo war!

Heavyweight category will see a all Borneon affair. Champion, Darren Low from Sabah is looking to mirror his 13 knockout he did last season but Sarawakian Tsan Nieng Khai is known not only for his ability to absorb punches but also produce devastating blows too. Darren is a submission specialist but certainly has knock out power in those hands. He won the belt in Season 2 and defended it in a 13 seconds TKO vs Niker Tan last year. Meanwhile Tsan favours stand up. He develop it from his devotion to Muaythai.

Both are businessman, Darren runs his own security firm and Tsan runs a cyber cafe and his own gym – MAD Fight Club. Will Tsan be able to move Mount Kinabalu? Heavyweight fights will be short and impactful; with a guaranteed KO/TKO results, so don’t blink!



Flyweight:
Seah Zhang Yu (Defending Champion) VS Eddey Kalai



Seah Zhang Yu, produced an epic battle dubbed the fight of the night, last season. This year he will have his hands full as he will battle it out with boxing legend, Eddey Kalai. Seah from 3S MMA Penang is a fighter with good endurance plus a high work rate in the cage.

Mentally, Seah also has proven himself, when in season 2 after a lost to Muhd Aiman in the semi-finals, he was called back to fight in the finals as Aiman failed to make weight. Within a few days he need to make weight and he went on to KO Kenny Yap to emerge as season 2 champion. Last year he battle it out for 5 rounds vs Dhiaal Amal in a thrilling back & forth fight, to defend his belt.
Eddey is from Sandakan, Sabah. A policeman and ex national boxer. He represent ELITEZ MMA and KALAI BROTHERS BOXING. Eddey always has a smile and likes to joke, hence his nick name ‘The Clown’ but once the fight starts he will put together slick combo, fluid head movement to avoid strikes and a much improved grappling game to bring the fight to the canvas.
Andy Teh (model, actor and MMA pro fighter and founder of ELITEZ MMA) describe Eddey ,
Andy believe that the fight with Seah will be an exciting match where good exchange of punches & kicks will fill the rounds.
Lightweight: 
Jace Law (Defending Champion) VS Hui Keng Fai





This is a text book epic clash to look forward to is the bout between JKO, Jace Law, and KFO, Keng Fai. Both are hard hitters who are known to KO their opponent. Expect guns blazing when these two meet.
Jace Law was creating waves in last season MIMMA, knocking opponents out left right and center. He lived up to his monicker of JKO. This year, Jace stayed low key. Focusing on his training away from media attention.
WRB catched up with Jace

Its been sometimes since we last hear from u what have u been busy with?
Busy with other projects, spending time with the people that matter most to me etc…even so I’ve never skipped training since winning the belt. I’m at the gym everyday its crazy… and by gym I mean the best gym around town, The Gymbox Kuching. “Wink”

Do you still train under Matt Pellino? How has your preparation been?
Matt is off doing his own thing, he will be back soon, but as for this fight camp nothing has changed…. all the training routines from last year has been implemented in this training camp. And this time I have more training partners to spar with me and push me to my limits in training. Guys like Stephen Onn, Aaron Tan, Aaron Lo, Steve Kong, Vincent Voon, Tsan Nieng Khai, Samuel Ng, Henry Eng, Jimmy, Allan Goh, even guys from other gyms like Mohd Eswandy, Tingang Bulan and my fellow grand finalist Bryant Tan! Just have to give these guys a shoutout and thank them for helping me out! 😉

What do you think of the finalist from season 4 this year…aside from your own match…which do you think will be explosive?
Some familiar faces and some new faces. All good guys, and ladies of course 🙂 I think Darren Low vs Tsan Nieng Khai will be explosive, two big guys going at it… The cage better be reinforced for this match up!

What is training at Phuket Top Team like? What is the difference from TMT last year?
PTT was cool, much smaller than TMT but the level of training is around the same level, if not better. I mean each camp has their own special something y’know? It was a great experience overall especially sparring with high level fighters there. The Thai coaches were great too! But I’ll say this though the food at TMT is way better!

In PTT since its cater for all the finalist and you are away from your own coaches who understand your style vs coaches that you just met…how do they prepare you for your own fight?
Its more about us experiencing how these high level fighters train. We were there for only a week, getting a sense of how world class fighters prepare for their fights is kind of the main point of us going there. So we could push ourselves even further by taking their work ethics and implementing them into our own training routines when we go back home.

Related:  Borneo Invasion @ MIMMA 3 - A Karadech

Did you expect Hui Keng Fai to reach finals?
Kinda did. Predicted it since the MIMMA4 shortlisted names came out on MIMMA’s FB page.

Do you feel the fight will go the distance?
Who knows? Anything can happen in a fight. It might last a few seconds and it might go the distance. And I always prepare myself for the worst. That being said I will do whatever it takes to keep the belt around my waist.

Do you feel being away from the cage gives you cage rust?
No, I don’t believe in ring rust or cage rust.


 




WRB also had a chat with Jace’s challenger for the lightweight belt.
 
Can you share with readers your background?
Born in Batu 5 Jalan Ipoh, now doing my bachelor’s degree in psychology at HELP Uni, planning to do a masters in sports psychology after that.

Tell us about your martial arts journey?
Started from home, YouTube warrior hitting a heavy bag, sparring with friends, neighbors, my dad. 


How do you get into it?

Nothing special, always admired people who can fight, wanted to lose weight, that got me through the door, but after that it was like a drug, I couldn’t stop, I just enjoyed it so much.
I enjoy the never ending learning process. It’s something where you know for a fact you will never one day say, “Oh, I’ve learned enough and am satisfied” I wanna do martial arts for as long as my body allows me to.

Who is the coach that have taught you the most?
I have to name a few, all my coaches were just as important in my learning journey. My coaches from the really early beginning until my current coaches, it’s like your preschool, primary school, secondary school, college then university teachers, they are all good and taught me what I needed most at the time. 

The coaches I’ve stuck with the longest though would be the ones at Muayfit, Piotr Leib my boxing coach, Saeed Chapari my wrestling coach, and Prof. Pedro Falbo,, BJJ coach. I try to learn from everyone, pick up what I can, discard what I don’t find useful for me.

Currently I’m training with Alex Volodin at Alex Gym to work on my boxing, and Pedro for my BJJ. I learn just as much from my training partners. I cross train a lot at various gyms.
I don’t trained in Muaythai because I think it makes me too stiff. I prefer boxing. But don’t underestimate my kicks.
 
What motivates you?…what makes you fight with such fire?
I enjoy competition. I tend to get competitive in whatever I do. I enjoy the MMA lifestyle. Eating well, training hard and finishing my opponents. All 12 wins I have in amateur MMA came from 1st n 2nd round finishes. All finishes. I like to be vicious when fighting. I wish I could fight like Robbie Lawler. I love his fighting style and am constantly trying to emulate it.

Launching the KFO on opponent’s face






You have a face that rarely show much emotion…but when you fight, you don’t hold back…what sets this style that you have?
Aha first time hearing that, I’m not aware about this, I don’t show much emotion?
:0 I think I might know just the reason, my previous boxing coach Piotr Leib said going crazy after winning a fight shows that one wasn’t sure if he was going to win the fight, one was surprised after winning. I know I’m going to win. So it’s no surprise. It’s expected.


Tell readers about your personality…how do you describe yourself?
When I’m not training and by myself, I’m constantly in my head, in my mind, thinking. Sometimes too much. Sometimes it’s productive thinking and I get lots of ideas going, get creative, am really positive.
Sometimes it’s negative thinking. Trapped in my own thoughts.
Then I go for a run, shadow box, and feel that flow. Then mental clarity comes. 


Whats your favorite food that you cannot go without?
I love food. All kinds of food. Sometimes food motivates me to do my roadwork. Nasi lemak, BBQ meats, sandwiches and coffee. Some people eat to live, haha I live to eat. Darren Low inspires me to stuff myself with good food and then go lie down in a food coma.

During training what type of music do you listen to?
I usually avoid loud screaming music when training, various genres, some old, some new, but they are always songs that I find relaxing, to stay loose and relaxed, which is so important in striking.
But then for hard training sessions where technique isn’t involved, such as running or pushing myself on the airdyne, fast paced and somewhat loud songs do help me train harder.

You have put on some bulk, who is your Strength & Conditioning coach? 

My problem is staying light. If I don’t restrict my calories, and lift weights even just twice a week, I’ll bulk up fairly quickly. Now I avoid weights and am focusing on being explosive and fast. Now it’s Roadwork over weights anytime for me.
I’ve actually lost weight compared 1-2 years ago, but I feel more agile and faster, I don’t get tired so quickly anymore. I don’t have an S&c coach but have always been trying out all the different exercises for strength, that was in the past. Now to maintain strength I try to do calisthenics mostly. Rope climbs, pull ups, push ups, sprints and squats. Plain wrestling and jiujitsu is already decent S&C I think.
There’s not enough time to do everything, there’s so much to learn and do in MMA. Sriking, grappling and S&C.

What is your go to exercise to build strength?
Muscle ups and rope climbing. It makes me feel like I am strong in proportion to my size, so I like them the most. 


Take us through your MIMMA 4 journey/ from the ladder-match…to the contender…which is the fight u most satisfy with?

All my fights have been first round finishes since my fight with Nazri Sutari last year.

Do you see yourself making a career out of MMA?
Fighting is not my career. It’s a journey I pursue out of enjoyment. If money comes with it in the future, great, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. I believe I’ll do well in whatever career I pursue once I’m done with fighting, because of what competing in martial arts has given and will continue to give to me. The gifts of mental fortitude, discipline, tremendous self belief and self efficacy.

How do you see the fight with Jace going?
He’s got heavy hands, but he’s also heavy on his feet. I think he’s too slow, too stiff. I see holes in his striking and I plan to capitalize on them. 

Do you think your ground game is better than him? 
I think I am more technical than him on striking, on the ground, and cage work. He might be better than me in bench pressing though.

To date what is your most memorable fight?
My fight against Nazri Sutari. Everyone thought I was going to lose. The guy was putting people to sleep with one punch knockouts. But I had no doubts that I would win. I was dissapointed with the judges’ decision during the semifinals last year, thus the chance to fight in the grand finale in the non-title match against Nazri made it all the more better.



WRB wishes both fighters the best. May it go down history as the best fight in MIMMA.

Bantamweight: 
Effendy Kalai VS Damon Soo



Last year’s bantamweight final was a bit of a anti-climax. The bout between Effendy Kalai (Sabah) vs Tee Jac Yoe (Johor) ended in a controversial manner where Effendy pass out as referee gave him time to recover due to illegal strikes. Before that Tee was warn a few times for striking to the back of the head, but till today it was uncertain whether he pass out due to the strikes or some other circumstances. The fight was announced a no contest.

Realizing this unfinished business, MIMMA offered a rematch in this season’s contender fight but Tee was not able to make it because he is studying overseas. The second contender fight was between another Sabahan – John Liew against the heavy favorite Damon Soo. It was a thrilling fight which Damon won by exerting ground control. Damon goes on to meet Effendey.

WRB wanted to hear the view of  Effendey’s MMA coach, Andy Teh.

What’s your thoughts on MIMMA giving Effendy the spot in grand final?
I’m very happy as this grand-final match is officially confirmed after a roller coaster end in MIMMA 3 Grand final last year. For one year, I’m trying to get the best answer and contact closely with MIMMA and Tunetalk team to offer the best solution for this issue. And I’m glad, the fight for him is confirmed after a proper and strict medical test handled by TuneTalk medical panel, Sunway Hospital . Would like to take this opportunity to THANK all that was involved in this problem solving issue. I know they are facing hard time settling this issue to make sure the fairest decision is made for both team.

Related:  Sabah Open BJJ & Submission Grappling Tournament


What you see is his biggest challenge facing Damon?
Damon is a high level BJJ practitioner. And I know he is a very disciplined MMA athlete. He trained well in both striking and ground work. Good all rounder I would say. And for me, ground will be the world for Damon in this fight. But we have a proper training plan for this as well. So let’s see what will happen in this Grand Final.

As Effendey coach how do you keep him motivated after last year incidence?

I can only do a small part by diverting him to stay focus on building a good coaching foundation and career in my academy. The biggest challenge is himself. He have to face the fact that it happened. But of sourse, no point waiting everything from MIMMA officials. Life have to move on. I told him to accept the worst decision it may be to avoid any disappointment and continue his journey. Meanwhile, he do participate in some BJJ, MMA and Muaythai competition to conditioning him, mentally and physically to stay in competitive mode
.

Featherweight: 
Cheah Wen Khyn VS Joseph Yap

Joining Effendey and Eddey in the grand final is another ELITEZ stalwart; Joseph Yap. Joseph is a martial arts prodigy. At 25 this year, he only started seriously training in Jan 2015. Under the careful guidance of ELITEZ MMA founder Andy Teh teaching Joseph MMA and coach Effendey Kalai in boxing and Ngeoh Jian Cong in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Joseph soaks it all in like a sponge. In March 2015 he debut in his first MMA match. Going in like a dynamite in Ultimate Beatdown 15 winning by TKO with punches.

He was a feature fighter in 2015 MIMMA3: Contender Fight. Winning his featherweight fight vs Uriel Yu. He took on Hafizul Hakeem of Sabah in this year’s semi-finals. It was his toughest match so far, as Hafizul dominate the fight, until Joseph found an opening for an armbar. He now has 8 amateur fights under him and all these fights are by TKO / submission. Joseph is looking to continue his winning streak and aimed to use his aggressiveness to win this match.
The armbar that brought Joseph to the finals

Again WRB talked to Andy Teh,

“Joseph will be going against Cheah Wen Khyn who currently training in MEBjj and with Sifu Kenneth if I’m not wrong. And I know Cheah is an explosive fighter and a good BJJ blue belt.

Tell me from your perspective on Joseph…his motivation, attitude and chances.
Joseph is a very discipline boy I would say. He listen well and he execute well. Humble on his achievement and always hunger for more success is what I see in him. And with discipline kick-in in his personality, this boy can go far! And I do believe he will make it to a bigger stage one day. Strong punch won’t bring you far but strong heart and attitude will. I always told him to focus one match at a time. He have the chance to bring home ELITEZ very first title belt in MMA, but I don’t want to put any pressure on him. We will plan the game plan for the fight, train accordingly and hopefully he execute well accordingly on fight day. 
 
What do you think is Joseph strong point? 
Both are very strong. And Joseph will for winning is very high. He won’t give up easily. So it will be a war between two big hearts for this fight.
 
The ELITEZ fight team: Andy Teh with Joseph Yap (middle) and Effendy Kalai (left)

 

 
 
 

Foreign Pride:
Nazri Sutari VS Shaqueme Rock

For the Foreign Pride category will see two great athlete from two different side of the world.

Nazri Sutari aka Porkchop from Singapore meets Shaqueme Rock from Liverpool England. Nazri goes into this fight with a 6-3-0 record. He ply his trade in the early days in Rebel FC and Singapore Fighting Championship.

Nazri learned a lot from his lost to Keng Fai in last year MIMMA grand final feature fight.
He considered it his toughest fight to date.
” That dude hit so hard and he was sharp and basically caught me. I thought I was winning the fight till I messed up during the scramble. His ground strikes are insane. Oh and also Ron Ng during S.F.C 1. Again I got caught because of my inexperience. But hey, you live and learn right?”

Coming back strong this year, Nazri is more calm and will take his time in a fight. Using his take down and grappling to tire his opponent before punishing them with ground and pound.

Nazri teaches MMA & Muaythai at Impact MMA & The Gentle Art Academy in Singapore.

WRB had a chat with Nazri.

Tell us how did you get involve in martial arts?
I guess my first involvement in combat sports was fencing. I started fencing when i was 13. I was training and actively competing at both national and regional levels and got selected for the national team. When I got into polytechnic I took up muay thai as a means to cross train with fencing. 
 
I was enlisted into the army for my national service but I was still training but not competing. Had my second muay thai fight 3 months after completing my service. My coach told me that I have the physical attributes to be a good MMA fighter (at that time I started wrestling to complement my clinching game in muay thai). At the end of 2013 Rebel FC organised a tryout for amateur fighters. I took part for fun but got selected to fight. I won my first MMA fight at Rebel FC and have not looked back since then.
 

Standing across Nazri in the cage on Saturday night will be Shaqueme Rock, a Brits 4 years his junior at only 22 this year. His friends call him Shem or Shaqueme (pronounce Sha-Keem). Born and raised in Liverpool. He is half black half white. His father is half Bajan (Barbados) half English and his mother is quarter English quarter Scottish and half Nigerian

Shaqueme is a full time athlete in Monarchy Gym. He trains 3 times a day. He is able to do this due to his elder brother Saka’s care. The neighbourhood he lived in Liverpool is rough area and Shaqueme had his fair share of street fights. His karate experience didn’t help him much as he learned it when he was very young. But having played football all his life, he was able to build strong legs.

As Saka’s business improve in Malaysia, he decided to bring Shaqueme over to Malaysia, away from the rough neighbourhood. He supported Shaqueme and gave him a place to stay. When he was 13, Shaqueme watch the first UFC where Royce Gracie was able to submit bigger guys with ease, that’s when his interest in BJJ grew. But he never had a chance to learn. Till he step foot in Malaysia. As he was wondering the street, he came across a signage offering BJJ class. Stepping into the door of Monarchy, he took Prof Bruninho Barbosa’s BJJ class and has been hooked since.

Shaqueme took classes from Prof. Conrado Furlan for Muay Thai. Prof. Jonathon Clamons for Boxing and learn MMA from ONE Championship fighter Agilan Thani and Peter Davis. Also occasionally trained with Monarchy founder Samir Mrebet. With such a talented pool of coaches guiding & training him, Shaqueme grows quickly as a martial artist.

He won his first two fights in MIMMA 4 with by KO. The last fight vs Palestinien Don Sulaiman was a tough one, although he dominated all round and attempted many submission, the tough Sulaiman was not easy to finish. Sulaiman’s hand was raise at the end. But after a judges discussion, the decision was overturn to a victory for Shaqueme. Which moved him to grand finals.
Shaqueme is like a son to Prof Bruninho. He sees this talented kid winning MIMMA 4 on Saturday
“I see Shaqueme winning by submission  Triangle Choke. Nazri will take him down and he will end up in Shaqueme’s guard. And on the ground it’s Shaqueme’s territory”
 
Prof Bruninho backed this up by pointing out that Shaqueme’s recent outing at Johor Open JiuJitsu, he won 3 Gold medals. All his 10 fights was won by submission and the dominance he showed by not having a single point scored against him.
Prof Bruninho (right) with his BJJ prodigy Shaqueme
Prof Bruninho also describe Shaqueme as a very discipline student and very humble. Always being respectful to everyone he meet.
This fight will be very interesting as two different style will clash. Will the muscular and explosive Nazri be able to use his striking, take down and ground control to shut down Shaqueme’s game? Or will Shaqueme’s lanky limb and prowess in submission proof to be Nazri’s Achilles heel again?
Ohhh I can’t wait for fight night on Saturday. At this year’s grand finals, all the championship bouts are predicted to be immensely competitive as the standard of MMA in Malaysia has increased tenfold in the past 4 years.

Grab your tickets while it’s still available. Tickets for the historic night are available at redtix.airasia.comIf you are not in KL, catch the fight on www.malaysianinvasion.com or RTM TV1